It is hard to imagine the E-Type could have ever seemed anything but revolutionary. But in the late 1960’s, it was nearly a decade old and starting to feel a bit long in the tooth to sports car buyers. Newer, more modern cars were hitting the market and Jaguar needed a significant refresh to inject some new life into the E-Type – to meet new safety and emissions standards and keep up with performance gains of its rivals. The changes were significant enough to earn the E-type a new name: XKE. It was longer, lower, wider and roomier than the series 2 it replaced. Body styles were reduced to two choices – a 2+2 coupe and the beautiful open two seat roadster. The twin-cam inline six XK engine was gone, and in its place was a new all-alloy, single overhead cam V12 displacing 5.3 liters and delivering 245 horsepower. While the V12 wasn’t any more powerful than the outgoing six, it was incredibly smooth, transforming the E-type from a hairy-chested sports car to svelte, luxurious GT. Other factors in the E’s new image were a larger cockpit, light-touch power steering and a softer ride quality. The public responded and over 15,000 XKE’s were sold between 1971 and 1974.
This incredible 1974 XKE open two seat roadster has covered a scant 26,214miles since new and has been beautifully restored to original specification. In spite of averaging about 600 miles a year over 40 years, it was treated to a concours-quality bare metal respray in original metallic silver. The silver paintwork is paired with a black leather interior, black canvas soft top and a very rare original factory hardtop, making for a striking combination. Bumpers and trim are excellent, and the car rides on a set of beautiful chrome wire wheels and correct whitewall radial tires. Since the restoration was completed, it has seen very light use which is apparent both under the bonnet and on the tidy undercarriage. Twelve-cylinder XKE’s are a rarity in this condition, and thankfully this example delivers a drive to match its sparkling good looks. A highly desirable 4-speed manual gearbox backs up the silky V12. The restored black leather interior is still very fresh with proper carpets and materials used throughout. A full complement of original instruments sits in the correctly detailed dash. With the hard top in place, this XKE is transformed to an outstanding GT car, thanks to the effortless power delivery, comfortable cabin, light power steering and high speed performance. This is a documented numbers-matching example, confirmed by a Jaguar-Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate. Other documentation includes a 2005 NV title showing 22,000 miles, and all handbooks and service manuals. Also present are the correct spare tire, jack and tool kit and the aforementioned hard top. Collectability is on the rise for Series 3 XKE’s as enthusiasts have learned to appreciate their unique qualities that set them apart from earlier E-types. Surely one of the finest available today, this example is ready for a new owner to add more than few more miles to the clock.
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